Pakistani authorities have downplayed news that former president General Pervez Musharraf crossed the Line of Control in 1999 and spent a night within Indian territory.
A former aide of General Musharraf, who was Pakistan army chief at the time, said that weeks before hostilities erupted between Indian and Pakistani troops in the Kargil sector in 1999, Musharraf crossed the LoC in a helicopter and spent a night at a location 11 km inside Indian territory.
"We cannot confirm or deny this," said an official of Pakistan's foreign office on Friday. Col (retired) Ashfaq Hussain, who was a senior officer in Inter-Services Public Relations, the Pakistan Army's media arm, claimed in a TV show that Musharraf flew across the LoC on March 28, 1999 and travelled 11 km into the Indian side.
This is not the first time Hussain made this claim. He also revealed this in a book that was publised in 2008.
The army official claimed that Musharraf, who was accompanied by Brigadier Masood Aslam, then commander of 80 Brigade, spent the night at a spot called Zikria Mustaqar, where Pakistani troops commanded by Col Amjad Shabbir were present.
Saad Rafiq, a spokesman of the PML-N party, however, told media on Friday that claims made by Ashfaq Hussain "were highly exaggerated." Rafiq said that as army chief, such an adventure should have been in the knowledge of then PM Mian Nawaz Sharif. "This was not the case so I can say that this is in all possibility a myth," he said.